Beat the Flu During National Influenza Vaccination Week

Beat the Flu During National Influenza Vaccination Week

This year, National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW) is December 2-8. NIVW provides an opportunity for nurses to promote flu vaccination before flu season swings into full gear. The flu can be dangerous and result in serious health problems (complications), such as pneumonia, bacterial infections, or hospitalizations. Flu can sometimes even lead to death. All people are at risk for serious flu-related complications and certain groups, such as young children, pregnant women, people with certain chronic health conditions like cancer, diabetes, heart disease, asthma or lung disease, and people 65 years and older, are at higher risk.

Getting a flu vaccine is the first and most important step in protecting against the flu and its serious complications. Annual vaccination is important because influenza is unpredictable, flu viruses are constantly changing, and immunity from vaccination declines over time. Flu vaccination can also prevent serious medical events associated with some chronic conditions. A meta-analysis study published in JAMA shows that flu vaccination has been associated with lower rates of some cardiac events (i.e., unstable angina, heart failure, or stroke among people with heart disease).

In the United States, flu viruses are most common during the fall and winter. The exact timing and duration of flu seasons can vary, but influenza activity often peaks between December and February, and it can last as late as May. The CDC recommends everyone at 6 months of age and older gets a flu vaccine by the end of October, before flu activity begins every year. However, getting vaccinated later can still be beneficial.

Here are some essential preventative actions that we can do, in addition to getting a flu vaccine, to beat the flu and protect ourselves, our families, and our patients.

  1. Wash your hands often, especially after coughing or sneezing. Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze and wash your hands often and thoroughly. After using a tissue, throw it in the trash and wash your hands.
  2. Frequently clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like flu.
  3. Boost your immune by getting adequate sleep, eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, drinking plenty of water, and taking time to exercise.
  4. Last but not least, stay home when you are sick. If you are sick with a flu-like illness, the CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone.
Healthy Holiday Gift Ideas

Healthy Holiday Gift Ideas

The holidays are just around the corner! Many of you are looking for healthy holiday gift ideas and thinking about spending money on things that promote the health and wellness of your loved ones. To maximize the joys of the holidays and to show how much you care about your loved ones this year, here are some healthy and meaningful holiday gifts that won’t cost a fortune.

1. Fitness Tracker, Pedometer, and Heart Rate Monitor.

These gifts can help encourage your loved one to keep moving and can make them mindful of how much they are moving. Some only feature step counting, heart rate monitoring, and reliable sleep tracking; others have a built-in GPS or WiFi capability. You can find these gifts for around $50 or less, but you can spend more if your budget allows.

2. Healthy Cookbooks.

There are dozens of amazing cookbooks out there with recipes that are nutritious and include everything from salads to instant pot recipes. A healthy cookbook would make a great gift for your loved ones who like to cook.

3. A Gourmet Gift Basket.

A gourmet basket of fruits, an assortment of nuts, bottles of almond or olive oil or balsamic vinegar, are all great healthy gifts. Giving these gifts is a perfect way to show your care and love and also add colorful addition to their home.

4. Aroma Essential Oil Diffuser or Beeswax Candles.

Both diffusing aroma essential oils and beeswax candles are safe and can help reduce indoor air pollution. Not only is it functional and practical, but also healthy and beautiful.

5. Motivational Quote Art Prints and a Mouse Pad.

Both cute art prints and a decorative mouse pad are cheerful and they are perfect gifts to add a touch of inspiration without overwhelming a space. They can make someone smile and boost the mood of your loved one.

6. Hand Cream Gift Set and Travel Size Hand Sanitizer, Assorted Scents.

Both hand cream and hand sanitizer are great gifts for everyone this time of year—and they are inexpensive. They can be used at home and outside. Pick a scent you know your loved one is crazy about, or opt for a calm-inducing classic like eucalyptus or spearmint.

4 Simple Steps to Help Manage Your Weight

4 Simple Steps to Help Manage Your Weight

Nurses are gaining weight. A study in the International Journal of Nursing Studies shows that the prevalence of overweight among U.S. nurses ranges from 30% to 55%. There are many things that impact a rise of overweight or obesity in nurses including stress in the workplace and shift patterns. In addition, most nurses are not engaged in weight management behaviors.

Maintaining a healthy weight can lower your risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Here are four simple steps to take to keep a healthy weight.

1. Weigh Yourself Regularly

Weighing yourself daily or weekly provides a sense of accountability and is helpful for maintaining a healthy weight initially. It is a good idea to keep track of your weight so you can plan accordingly and adjust your diet and exercise plan as necessary.

2. Eat Healthy Foods

No matter what shift you take, try to eat your large meal towards the beginning of the shift, which will give you energy to get through the entire shift and to avoid starving yourself. Ensure your meal includes lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. Using online food trackers or apps such as MyFoodDiary or MyFitnessPal are helpful because they enhance your awareness of how much you are really eating. These tools usually provide specific information about how many calories and nutrients you consume. The key to maintaining a healthy weight is getting the right balance between the calories you are consuming and the calories you are spending.

3. Drink An Adequate Amount of Water

Drink water regularly, and before and during meals, which can promote fullness and increase your metabolism. Water can help you burn more calories and also control your appetite if consumed before meals. Bring a water bottle to work and fill it often. Avoid soda and sugary drinks because the extra calories from these drinks can lead to weight gain.

4. Incorporate Natural Exercise into Your Work Days

If you find it difficult to make time to go to the gym or keep up with a regular exercise program outside of work, you should incorporate physical activity into your workday.

Throughout your day, you should try to find as many chances to walk or move as you can, such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking around your floor or between buildings, parking your car farther away, and walking during the shift from patient room to room. Hourly rounding to check on your patients, attending to pains, position, and bathroom requests are simple ways to increase your physical activity at work. This also helps to reduce call-bells and improve the nurse-patient relationship.

What You Need to Know About the Nurse Licensure Compact Changes

What You Need to Know About the Nurse Licensure Compact Changes

Nursing is one of many health professions that requires a license as a condition of practicing to protect the public from harm and to ensure the public that the nurse has met the predetermined standards. The State Board of Nursing issues licenses to practice nursing, establishes the standards for safe nursing care, and acts against the licenses of those nurses who have exhibited unsafe nursing practice. An individual nurse is responsible for obtaining and maintaining nursing licensure, as well as complying with the licensure laws and regulations.

What is the Nurse Licensure Compact?

The Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) was created by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) and allows registered nurses (RNs) and licensed practical/vocational nurses (LPN/LVNs) to have one multistate license with the ability to practice physically, telephonically, or electronically in any of the member states without having to obtain a new license in each state. This reduces the burdensome, costly, and time-consuming process of obtaining single state licenses in each state of practice. There is no difference between the term “compact license” and “multistate license.” They are used interchangeably to refer to the NLC.

What Changed?

Earlier this year, the Interstate Commission of Nurse Licensure Compact Administrators established an updated version of the NLC and set Friday, January 19, 2018, as the implementation date for the enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC). Nurses who currently have a NLC will need to ensure that their state of practice is still a part of the new eNLC. Nurses who are residing in an original NLC state that enacted the eNLC are “grandfathered” into the eNLC if they held a multistate license on July 20, 2017.

If a nurse’s state of practice is no longer a part of the eNLC, they will need to obtain a single state license in order to continue practicing in the state. New nurses who receive their first license in an eNLC state will be able to practice in all the eNLC states. The current eNLC states include: Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

To qualify for a multistate license, nurses must be a resident of an eNLC state and meet the uniform licensure requirements established by the Commission of the eNLC, including:

  1. Meets the requirements for licensure in their state of residency
  2. Has graduated from a board-approved education program OR from an international education program (approved by the authorized accrediting body in the applicable country and verified by an independent credentials review agency)
  3. Has passed an English proficiency exam (applies to graduates of an international education program not taught English or if English is not the individual’s native language)
  4. Has passed an NCLEX-RN or NCLEX-PN Examination or recognized predecessor, as applicable
  5. Is eligible for or holds an active, unencumbered license
  6. Has submitted to state and federal fingerprint-based criminal background checks
  7. Has no state or federal felony convictions
  8. Has no misdemeanor convictions related to the practice of nursing
  9. Is not currently enrolled in an alternative program
  10. Is subject to self-disclose current participation in an alternative program
  11. Has a valid United States Social Security number

“The eNLC not only benefits nurses with increased mobility to practice, it also increases access to care for patients. Additionally, new provisions in the eNLC enhance patient safety,” says Sue Tedford, MNSc, APRN, RN, executive director of the Arkansas State Board of Nursing and Chair of the Interstate Commission of Nurse Licensure Compact Administrators.

For more information about the eNLC, visit www.ncsbn.org.

Rising Demand for Male Nurses

Rising Demand for Male Nurses

There is a growing demand for more nurses in general and that the demand for male nurses is currently on the rise. Male nurses are increasing their presence at the bedside, hospital, clinic, and nursing home. The American Association for Men in Nursing (AAMN) profiles the progress of its campaign for a 20% increase in the number of male nurses in the workforce by 2020. We all know that the nursing profession would benefit from a more diverse representation of gender, age, and cultures within the workforce.

Male nurses are bringing balance to the profession, which benefits patients as a whole. Having male nurses ensures that male patients are well cared and represented. Sometimes patients prefer a nurse of a certain sex, particularly for procedures like inserting a catheter, serving a bedpan, or administering EKG. Male nurses have skills and care-giving strengths that can make nursing an excellent career for them. Importantly, the benefits of being a male nurse are the same benefits of being a nurse.

If you are male and thinking about becoming a nurse, don’t hesitate to explore the career and most importantly look into yourself to ensure that this is the right career for you. Nursing is a challenging job and one that requires hard work, integrity, and dedication. Nurses can treat every patient regardless of gender, but dealing with human sickness and patients who may be crabby and cranky is simply a fact of life for nurses. As nurse, you are able to help patients and give them a level of comfort and put them at ease. The world of nursing holds many possibilities. There are over 100 different nursing specialties available and there are plenty of ways to advance your career if you are willing to work hard. Since not everyone has what it takes to be a nurse, there are a lot of considerations when it comes to nursing and what your personality needs to be like in order to be a good nurse.

Here are four key questions to ask yourself.

1. How well do you cope with stress and emergency situations?

Nursing jobs can be stressful at times. If you are someone who can work well under pressure and copes well with stress, you will do well as a nurse.

2. Are you easily offended?

Nurses sometimes come in contact with patients who are hostile or unfriendly. Being easily offended can make your nursing job difficult and stressful quickly.

3. Do you consider yourself to never stop learning?

The field of health care is continuously changing, whether it is a new disease or recently discovered new treatment, nurses learn something new every day. Therefore, a good nurse is always ready to learn more.

4. Are you a team player?

Teamwork is essential in nursing to getting the job done right and improving the patient’s health. Nurses, who enjoy their job, work well with other team members.